The Epic Games versus Apple court case has come to a close over the weekend, but neither side were able to claim a divisive victory.
As detailed by GamesIndustry.biz, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez sided with Fortnite developer Epic on one of the ten counts it held against Apple. Namely, that the company’s restrictions against apps being able to direct to external payment options was in violation of unfair competition laws. Therefore, Apple is no longer allowed to stop apps from directing people to external sites circumventing the Apple Store’s cut for in-game purchases from December 9.
However, the judge also sided with Apple on one of its counterclaims against Epic. Judge Rogers agreed that it was indeed in breach of contract by allowing iOS users to buy V-Bucks directly through Fortnite. As a result, Epic must pay 30% of the $12 million USD of money it had collected through this method from August of 2020.
The judge disagreed with both companies on a number of its points. These included Epic’s accusation that Apple was running a monopoly, but also called Apple’s own attempt to define its own market of all digital video games as “overly broad”. She also agreed that Apple’s practices denied consumers choice. The Court also said that “Apple created an innovative platform but it did not disclose its rules to the average consumer. Apple has used this lack of knowledge to exploit its position.”
Epic Games’ founder Tim Sweeney responded to the verdict on Twitter. “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers,” he said. “Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.” He closed by saying Epic would “fight on”, so some form of appeal may be on the horizon in the future.
Fortnite will return to the iOS App Store when and where Epic can offer in-app payment in fair competition with Apple in-app payment, passing along the savings to consumers.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) September 10, 2021